Bacchanal in wait-and-see modeThursday, March 04, 2021
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
PRINCIPALS of local carnival band, Bacchanal Jamaica, are awaiting the directives of Government with regard to COVID-19 protocols before outlining its plans for the local event.
According to Michael Ammar Jr, his organisation has a number of plans, including the staging of virtual events for the local carnival season, but all these will be dependent on the status of the novel coronavirus outbreak in Jamaica and Government's plans to curtail the spread.
“We are basically in wait-and-see mode. The truth is we cannot do anything without the instructions of the authorities. We are going to do some stuff, but must be guided by the Government. As much as we would love to stage carnival activities, as we were not able to do so last year as it coincided with the outbreak and pandemic. We are waiting as we really don't want to pre-empt anything. The safety and health of our patrons and the Jamaican population is critical, so we await instructions. We have been having discussions and we are prepared to do a series of things. We are ready to go once we get the greeen light,” Ammar Jr told the Jamaica Observer during a an interview.
As of yesterday, Jamaica registered close to 222,300 positive cases, and more than 400 deaths.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced a raft of new containment measures to curtail the spread of the virus. The restrictions are expected to last for the next three weeks.
The measures include: the islandwide curfew remaining at 8:00 pm to 5:00 am daily, until March 22; zoos, parks, gyms, attractions and bars will close at 6:00 pm; public beaches are to be closed; and, public gathering limit will remain at 10 people.
Meanwhile, visitors and Jamaicans coming home from abroad will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result, conducted within 72 hours prior to their travel date, at the check-in for their flights. Accepted test types are polymerase chain reaction (PCR), nucleic acid amplification(NAA), RNA or molecular, and Antigen.
“This is a critical trigger, and we have to shift policy efforts to ensuring that we can preserve every Jamaican's life,” said Holness.
“Once the capacity of the health system becomes threatened, we could see a spike, not only in the number infected, but also in those dying from the disease — this is, therefore, the critical fulcrum.”
Like the rest of the entertainment industry, carnival celebrations were halted last year due to the start of the global health crisis.
Based on initial projections, it was estimated that Jamaica's Carnival celebrations for 2020, which were originally set for April last year, were rescheduled for October. However, this had to be cancelled as the effects of the pandemic only deepenend.
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